Despite all the published reports about the great results that businesses are deriving from content marketing, it seems manufacturers and industrial companies are still stuck in their old ways of marketing. According to a recent commissioned study done by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Act-On Software, SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) prefer the more personal touch of face-to-face marketing tactics for customer acquisition.
Even though the study included 208 SMB decision makers, it is very relevant to manufacturers and industrial companies because 40% of the respondents were Manufacturers from various industries.
What surprises me is the fact that the top three marketing tactics all require large amounts of both time and money. In addition, they are all outbound marketing initiatives. So why is it that less expensive digital or inbound marketing techniques are not being used more often by manufacturing and industrial companies with smaller marketing budgets? Content marketing is only at number 4.
Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki), the author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, former chief evangelist of Apple and the co-founder of Alltop, once said, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”
The 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks–North America: CMI/MarketingProfs had also reported the same preference for in-person events in their survey of 1,416 B2B Marketers from North American companies.
I realize that it is easy to present selective data to reflect and validate a particular point of view (“Lies, damned lies, and statistics”). Here’s a reality check from my personal experiences. My industrial clients are following a similar path. Yes, they are doing more content marketing today than before but they have not abandoned traditional marketing tactics such as trade shows, print ads and direct mail.
There are many reasons why manufacturers and industrial companies continue to use these traditional marketing tactics. Three that I see most often are:
- These companies are sales dominated and marketing has always played a secondary role as sales support
- Instant gratification fits nicely into the existing mindset versus the long-term commitment required in content marketing
- Direct response results are easier to measure than inbound marketing leads that take longer to nurture and convert
Because of this type of thinking, industrial companies tend to put very little faith in their marketing efforts. This point is very evident in the chart below from the same Forrester /Act-on study.
Whether you are an in-house Marketing Director or an external industrial marketing consultant like me, one thing is certain as we move into 2013 and beyond, our work is cut out for us in educating and helping industrial companies becoming better content marketers.
Share your thoughts and experiences with content marketing if you work for or with industrial companies.